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A country living two lives: A deeply traditional people and culture, and a technologically advanced superpower. Sparsely populated and serene countryside surrounding high rise cities full to bursting with people. Japan is an Asian fusion of old and new.

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English and French are in high demand in Japan when it comes to language tutoring. Japanese cooks are really interested in meeting foreign cooks to show them the ropes of European, African and American cuisine to spice up their menus a little so be sure and have some special cooking skills ready to teach when you arrive! In other areas English is still the language that most Japanese people will be interested in learning, though some people may like to pick up some other East Asian languages like Chinese, Korean and Russian.

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While Japan’s cities, especially Tokyo and Kyoto are amazing by themselves with plenty of colour, traders and markets to pique your attention.

Fushimi Shrine

Fushimi is one of Japan’s most celebrated and appealing shrines to visit. Famed for its cherry blossom lined pathways, Fushimi shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god of bounty, success and industry, Inari, and leads to the mountain of the same name. The pathways are composed of many sacred wooden gates, or torii, that lead into the main sanctuary and offer a beautiful walk into this amazing holy place.

Nara Park

In the city of Nara lays a specially designated park with plenty of things to check out. The first and most obvious will be the resident Sika deer population that roam the grounds, strolling about or snacking on specially distributed crackers given by tourists. The beautiful animals are largely docile if treated with respect and are worth seeing for their peaceful lives alongside human visitors. Not only that, but Nara park houses the massive temple of Todai-ji and Nara National Museum.

Mt Fuji

Located 2 hours from Tokyo, Mt Fuji looks over the city of Fujinomiya and is always an ever present feature of the landscape. Climbers can ascend without need of any major climbing equipment except some good hiking shoes and clothes, food, water, a trusty stick and some money for use on the stations along the way. The view from the top is truly breathtaking, often with a view of the sun spilling out over the clouds rolling into the valley below.

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Aside from the usual activities in a new country such as shopping and sightseeing, the Japanese countryside offers plenty of traditional activities that you can be a spectator of.

Take part in a Sado Tea Ceremony

A Sado tea ceremony is a very strict ceremony of preparing and consuming of specially prepared tea. It sounds simple but a lot of work and time goes into the ceremony, and it is a result of many years of tradition passed down through generations of Japanese men and women. It is a very formal and reserved occasion but feels very special to take a part in.

Relax in a hot spring

Japan experiences a lot of volcanic activity throughout the year and as a result many hot springs can be found throughout the country. Special bathhouses, known as Onsen, take their water from these hot springs and give a great chance to relax even in the chilliest of Japanese winters. These communal baths remain a fascinating escape from the outside world and, as an interesting side note, Japanese Macaques also love to use hot springs in the wilds, especially during the winter snows where groups of them bathe and relax just as people do.

The four seasons of Japan

This is less a thing to do and more a thing you might like to know. Each season in Japan is represented by certain traditions that bring dashes of colour and life to the Japanese year. In spring, we have the Cherryblossoms in bloom, lining pathways with glimmering white and pink bushes that cover the country in fantastic displays of raining petals. In summer, many festivals take place with great fireworks and dance displays, while autumn brings floating lantern festivals to honour the spirits of ancestors. Finally in winter we have the snows mentioned before. As the flakes build up a blanket of snow in the towns and villages, you can be happy for your decision to visit this fantastic and almost magical place.